Are you familiar with SAP’s LAW tool?

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If you’re an SAP customer, you might have heard about License Administration Workbench (LAW). LAW is a tool provided by SAP to collect and consolidate the measurement results previously gathered by running USMM.  USMM helps you to determine the usage of the user license types (e.g. professional users, limited professionals, etc.) and the usage of the SAP applications (called engines) per each SAP system individually. LAW gathers all these individual use evidences into one single report and ensures that named users identified in multiple systems are only counted once.

In this article, we are going to explain the concept of SAP’s named user and its licensing rules: how does the user count work and what is the role of LAW.

To understand the logic of LAW, we will go a few steps back to see how SAP handled users’ measurement prior developing LAW. Further, we will list pros and cons of the tool, and what you should watch out for, in case you are performing an SAP license measurement.

SAP named user – Why should you manage them?

You will recognize that license charges can be a significant overhead. Accordingly, it is worthwhile to highlight that not incorporating correct technical directives when measuring users might lead to overcharging from SAP (e.g. not classifying the user under the license type they need).

By accurately managing your SAP licenses, you can achieve significant cost savings; cost savings that are entirely legitimate as per SAPs licensing agreements.

SAP named user – Understanding the fundamentals

An SAP named user entitles an individual to access the licensed software functionality, while the role of the individual determines the required license type. There are many different types of user licenses available, all of which reflect the tasks and activities described in the individuals job description.

In addition, a specific SAP user type licenses (e.g. professional user) may include the use rights of another SAP user license (e.g. limited professional user). Let’s look at some examples: the most common user license type, ‘professional user (fully operational)’ includes the rights of limited professional user (limited functional). Limited professional user includes the rights of employee user. Employee user includes the rights of employee-self-service user, etc. So, the rights granted by an SAP user license type are fully included in the most powerful license type and as you go one level lower, the rights included become less and less.

In practice, it works as follows:

User “X” is performing customizing tasks on the productive system PRD. Therefore, he is classified as a professional user. User “X” also performs limited operational roles on another productive system, HRP. As a result of this, a limited professional user type license is assigned to him. Looking at the license types assigned to user “X”, we can say that he has two licenses: professional and limited professional.

This is a typical situation in which only a professional user license would be sufficient to license the use rights of User “X” correctly.

 SAP named user How to start the user counting and get the right results?

When you perform a user count (especially as part of an audit), you need to use the SAP measurement program called USMM. This program calculates the number of user types per measured system. However, USMM does not take into account the same users that are classified or measured over multiple SAP systems. In case we would only rely on the USSM results, user “X” from our previous example would be counted both as a professional user and a limited professional user; a situation in which one individual would be licensed twice.

Multiclient user

In the past, SAP introduced a multiclient user to overcome this situation. This multiclient user was a user type in the USMM program and could be used to classify users in another system as “already licensed”. In the example of user “X”, it would be classified as a professional user on the system PRD and as a multiclient user (not limited professional) on the system HRP.
This solution did not last long. Multiclient users had to be classified manually, costing a lot of time and money. End users did not pay attention to register their multiclient users (or remove them when employees left the organization) still resulting in incorrect user counts and compliance discussions. In short, multiclient user classification simply did not provide an effective solution.

License Administration Workbench

In order to find a solution for this problem, SAP developed the License Administration Workbench (LAW). On paper, the LAW tool provides attractive benefits, including:

  • Automatic count of the same users classified on multiple systems
  • Calculation of the users’ base according to SAP’s licensing rules (i.e. limited professional user is included in professional user, and therefore will be counted as professional user only)
  • No more manual classification of multiclient user

But how effective is the LAW tool in practice?

Throughout multiple years dealing with SAP audits, it became very clear that many customers struggle with the LAW tool. The most common issues we noticed are:

  • LAW Criteria

For the tool to be able to recognise the same person classified on multiple systems, the end user has to define the specific criteria for the LAW tool to consolidate the users.

This can be one of the following:

  • email address
  • username
  • second name and first name
  • account number
  • phone number
  • personalization object (codes created by SAP customers to group users based on specific common criteria – e.g. users in the finance department will be defined by one code or users in the same geographical location will be defined by one code)

If you choose “email address” as the unique identifier, you need to be sure that the email address of the user is maintained in exactly the same way across all the systems. In large companies, this is typically a big challenge.

  • Errors & bugs

The LAW tool is prone to technical issues. These can be caused by updates (or a lack thereof), or by program measurement outputs from USMM. There could be several reasons. Some errors will not allow the administrator to proceed with all required steps in the LAW tool or, worse still, the administrator will be allowed to proceed, but the outcome will result in an incorrect count.  For this reason, we strongly recommend that any errors encountered during a LAW consolidation are dealt with. They should not be ignored. Instead, administrators should seek the appropriate technical solution, ideally in conjunction with an SAP expert who is readily available to advise accordingly.

  • Technical knowledge

Although LAW performs the consolidation automatically, it nonetheless requires a technical person with a solid SAP understanding to execute all the steps effectively, and to analyse the outcome. Please note that there are 2 different versions of LAW:

  • LAW 1.0 (original version)
  • LAW 2.0 (new version)

The newer version (LAW 2.0) includes more features and functions than the original version (LAW 1.0), such as processing HANA and Sybase measurement results besides SAP ERP.

LAW 2.0 is only available to customers having a certain SAP Basis version (system administration platform for SAP Applications) in combination with the proper support package (a collection of correction SAP releases to fix the bugs in your systems).

Hence, you can use LAW 2.0 if you have one of the following combinations:

  • SAP_BASIS 7.02 as of Support Package 13 (released in March 2013)
  • SAP_BASIS 7.40 as of Support Package 02 (released in May 2013)
  • SAP_BASIS 7.31 as of Support Package 13 (released at the end of 2014)
  • SAP BASIS 7.50 as of Support Package 05 (released in October 2015)
  • SAP BASIS 7.51 as of Support Package 01 (released in October 2016)
  • SAP BASIS 7.52 as of Support Package 02 (released in October 2017)

Most of the customers are not able to use the newer version of the tool due to the above mentioned versioning limitations.

You need to have a good understanding of both versions and how to use them in order to identify which one is suitable for your systems.­­­­­­

Think twice before pressing the “send” button

LAW is the tool that SAP provides to its customers in order to consolidate the systems and combine the same users working on multiple systems. LAW is a big improvement compared to the multiclient user and its manual classification. LAW does however require it to be monitored by an experienced SAP technician. If that expertise is not available within your company, then you could source an external consultant before sending any output to SAP. This will help you avoid and save costs.

If you need support, B-lay has the contractual, technical and (commercial) negotiation experience to support you in your license management efforts (including your next SAP audit and user classification efforts). We can help you to protect your business from unnecessary and unbudgeted license and support fees. As outlined above, incorrect user counting is a common occurrence that can be easily avoided if knowledge is at hand. Contact us and let’s make your SAP licensing journey a smooth one.

This article was published on 24-09-2020